The apocalypse challenge – day 9: Pandemics

Enough about music, films and TV. Serious times call for serious topics.

This is day 9 of my apocalypse challenge. Over 10 days, I’m posting about catastrophes and almost-armageddons which had a big influence on me personally, and that also nearly destroyed the world.


The Apocalypse Challenge:

Day 9 – Pandemics

According to the Book of Revelation, Pestilence will be the first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse to appear – marking the beginning of the end for mankind. Thanks to Covid-19, we’ve witnessed many apocalyptic moments this year: overflowing hospitals, stores stripped bare of supplies, deserted city streets, rising death tolls.

Scary.

Actually, it’s not just Coronavirus, there’s been a lot of Pestilence around recently. Every few years, another horrifying and scary new disease seems to emerge to threaten us: Swine flu. Bird flu. Zika. Ebola. And now, Covid-19. This sustained assault on our collective health isn’t just in your imagination. According to scientists, as the planet’s population grows and becomes more urban, these illnesses really are becoming more frequent and widespread.

More scary. 

This increase in the emergence of contagious diseases is taking place at a moment in history when political populism is also on the rise. It’s no coincidence that the countries hit hardest by Coronavirus: the USA, the UK, Russia and Brazil, are all run by blustering ‘populists’ who were elected on platforms heavy with ideology and anti-establishment grievances, but very light on the nuts and bolts of good governance. They’ve been faced with a historic challenge, and not only have they failed to rise to the occasion, they’ve actually made things worse.

Super scary. But also frustrating. 

Countries like Taiwan, Greece, New Zealand and Vietnam have shown that pandemics don’t have to be cataclysmic – they can be contained. That first horseman of the apocalypse isn’t nearly as frightening or as deadly, when he’s faced with a country prepared to listen to, and follow the detailed advice of scientists and public health officials.

But populists don’t do details. They operate on gut instinct. They invest in the military, not hospitals. And they certainly don’t listen to wimpy scientists telling them things they don’t want to hear. Donald Trump, for example, dismantled and fired most of America’s pandemic response team after he took office, telling the press “when we need them, we can get them back quickly.” Apparently not quickly enough.

Now I’m just angry. 

Maybe the real pestilence plaguing the world today isn’t a disease; it’s political idiocy. And if you voted for Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin or Jair Bolsanaro, then I guess that makes you a carrier.

 

 

Tomorrow’s armageddon, the final one, will be brought to you by: 

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